The strange case of the disappearing backpacker

Looking down London Road circa 1903. The Horndean Light Railway tracks are on the right.  Picture: Barry Cox Collection

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Eileen Purnell dropped me a line about two former Portsmouth men, one of whom I mentioned a few weeks ago, Peter Jones.

Peter worked for the Portsmouth Evening News before going on to edit Record Mirror. He died a month ago.

Eileen tells me that in 1947/48 she went to Portsmouth Municipal College for a year’s commerce/economics course. Peter was also on the course and they became good friends.

Others in that class were Ian Corbin, Joy Finch, Ann Page and Marion Yeldon. There was also Alan Edmonds.

Eileen says Alan also joined The Evening News along with Peter, but appeared to have disappeared off the face of the earth.

At some point his mother died, his father remarried and Alan decided to go to New Zealand to find his sister Hazel who had emigrated some years before.

Alan went around the world hitch-hiking and was last heard of in Alice Springs, Australia. He kept a diary of his adventures hoping to get them published when he arrived back in Portsmouth.

But, after leaving Alice Springs, Alan was never heard of again and his possessions were never found.

His father visited Australia and met the prime minister in the hope he could find his son, but his search was in vain.

If anyone has any knowledge of Alan Edmonds please contact me, even if it’s in confidence.